Game Title: BlazBlue Central Fiction SPECIAL EDITION
Company: Arc System Works
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Availability: Digital
Battery Life: 3 – 4 hours
Cloud Save Support: Yes
Download: 11.7 GB

BlazBlue is a series that is unique in the fighting game world, as it satisfies a bunch of audiences. It has a fluid and fun fighting system for fans of fighting games. It also has an incredibly-expansive Story Mode in all of its games for Visual Novel and anime fans, each game easily spanning well over into 20+ hours a piece of just story content.

That Story focus is what I really love about the series. The fact that it’s a fighting game and a Visual Novel, all in one. It’s the same thing I really liked about Under Night In Birth. It’s also what keeps me coming back to cover more of this franchise.

Having originally released a few years ago on other consoles, the BlazBlue series finally came to a close with its 4th entry. Packed with all the other versions’ content and DLC, here is my review of BlazBlue: Central Fiction Special Edition for the NIntendo Switch!

Story

blazblue 2 - story

The plot picks up immediately after the end of the previous game, Chrono Phantasma. In the wake of the previous game’s events, the world is under threat by a strange orb in the sky and are all teleported into a new world, where Ragna the Bloodedge sets out on a quest to put an end to what he started in the previous games, and to save the ones he cares about the most.

The story of this series has always been very deep and complicated, and Central Fiction takes that to an entirely new level. Across its 12-Chapter storyline, you’re not only introduced to elements from the entire BlazeBlue series and Xblaze series, but a lot of new things happen and are revealed about the overall plot of the series, as a whole.

Of course, newcomers to the series are going to have their work cut out for them, when it comes to the plot. While the game does have an extensive “Recap” in the first part of Story Mode that explains most events of Calamity Trigger, Continuum Shift, and Chrono Phantasma, there’s just so much story here and constant terminology thrown at you at once that it takes a lot of time to process and understand everything.

Gameplay

blazblue 3 - gameplay

Central Fiction is a 2D FIghting game with heavy visual novel elements thrown into the mix. Across the various game modes, you’ll go through the expansive story of the series while also taking part in action-filled 1v1 battles with opponents.

First off, the Switch version of Central Fiction is packed with all DLC from the previous versions, easily making it the most bang for your buck (especially considering the PS4 version still runs around $35-40 two years after initial relase plus another $40+ for all the DLC characters and content that are built into the Switch version). While it doesn’t have content -exclusive- to this version of the game, outside of portability, it’s easily the cheapest way you can get Central Fiction and all of its DLC.

In terms of Game Modes, you’ve got a lot of different things to choose from. First of all, you have Story Mode which contains 12 Episodes to showcase the main story, along with well over a dozen sub scenarios and gag reels for more Slice-of-Life story segments and side stories going on during the Main Story from other characters’ perspectives. This also has a “Library” mode, which has definitions for characters, places, and concepts from within the world of BlazBlue.

blazblue 4 - modes

When you get to Gameplay Modes, you’ve got Practice Modes, Battle Modes, and of course Network Mode to let you do PvP with people from around the world. All of these are pretty expansive. Practice Mode has dozens of basic and character-specific tutorials to teach the game to you. Battle has 5 different single player modes, like Arcade and Grim of Abyss. And Network Feature has different match types along with a customizeable “Room” while using these game modes.

In terms of combat, things are mostly the same as they were in previous entries. You fight on a 2D plane, executing various combos with different attacks that use the face buttons along with directional input. Central Fiction did introduce a few new features, like the ability to access an “Active Flow” Mode when acting offensively, giving your character stat boosts, but overall, it plays very similar to previous entries.

blazblue 5 - combat

Another fortunate thing is the return of “Stylish Mode” which allows beginner players to do basic combos without memorizing complicated button and directional inputs. Ideal for going through story mode and learning the basic flow of the game, it allows you to simply button mash and use basic directional inputs to perform flashy combos without spending hours upon hours learning the gameplay system.

All of this comes together pretty well and into a very content-heavy and lengthy game. It took me around 18 hours to clear all of the “Main” scenarios of Story Mode (letting text flow with the Auto Advance setting turned on), and easily another 5-6 hours to go through the Gag Reels and Sub Scenarios. This puts Story Mode alone around 20-25 hours of time, let alone all of the Challenges and other things you can do.

Controls

Controlling the game is pretty simple. No touch controls so everything is done with the buttons.

You move around the battlefield with both the Left Analog Stick and/or the D-Pad / Arrow Buttons. The L and R buttons can be used for taunts and the ZR trigger can be used for special commands. Finally, all of the different types of attack moves are done with each of the face buttons.

This scheme can be customized however you want, though.

Presentation

blazblue 6 - presy

Graphically, this game doesn’t look much different from Cross Tag Battle. As such, there is a large lack of polish on the character models. There are a lot of jagged edges on the models and the jaggies are much larger than previous handheld entries of the franchise, that even Chrono Phantasma from the PS Vita looks a bit more polished than some of the models here in Central Fiction.

Performance can make up that lack of polish, as the game plays at a perfect frame-rate without any drops and very short load times. It plays very, very well.

Battery Life

Considering it has a graphical style similar to Cross Tag Battle, I expected Battery Life to be similar as well. Here are my times, from 100% to 0%

Max Brightness + Wi-Fi – 3 hours, 26 minutes
Max Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 3 hours, 39 minutes

Low Brightness + Wi-Fi – 4 hours, 28 minutes
Low Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 4 hours, 40 minutes

This is a little more than Cross Tag Battle got, which is pretty great.

In conclusion, BlazBlue: Central Fiction SE is everything the previous versions were, and for more bang for your buck. On the downside, the story does get a little too confusing even for series veterans and the graphical style is still a lot less polished than even previous handheld entries. But if you are looking for more BlazBlue on your Switch, this is an easy way to get dozens of hours in on the go.

Final Score: 9/10